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The suffix -ize, although commonly misconstrued as an Americanism, has always been a part of the English language. It was formerly used by The Times and other publications and is and always has been used by both Encyclopædia Britannica and the Oxford English Dictionary. The use of -ise in place of -ize in the United Kingdom, and later elsewhere, came about in the 19th century under French influence; at the same time, through the efforts of Noah Webster and others, the -ize became standard in American English for words where both endings were previously accepted. The steady shift in the opposite direction for Commonwealth countries even after the 19th century may have been to distinguish themselves from American English; in any case, for better or worse, -ise seems to be prevalent in Commonwealth countries, with -ize reserved for etyomologically correct and/or academic contexts.
The line between -ize and -ise depends on etymology; etymologically speaking, most verbs in English should be and were spelt with an -ize, with exceptions such as -vise, -cise, and -prise existing as well. One notable and oft-cited exception is analyse, where the -yze ending truly is an Americanism.
- Used to form verbs from nouns or adjectives, the verbs having the sense of "to make what is denoted by the noun/adjective".
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